Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

The Acrostic Poem

Susan Post

 

Creating an acrostic poem can be helpful in learning spring wildflowers. Many times when I visit an area or want to write about an organism, but have difficulty beginning, I create an acrostic poem. An acrostic poem is a free verse poem in which the first letter (or the last letter of the line) taken in order, form a word or phrase, that is the subject of the poem. The acrostic can be merely a list with a different item on each line, or it can be a sentence or two that continues through the poem. It can even be a combination of these two possibilities. 

To begin, write the name of what you want to write about in capital letters going vertically down the left side of your paper. Then start building a poem about the subject with words that begin with each letter. Since the first word of each line has to start with a particular letter, the acrostic form can inspire you to discover new possibilities in your subject as you proceed from line to line. The letter at the beginning of each line may direct your imagination in surprising ways. Your notes and observations about an organism or an area will come in handy, as the acrostic should be factual. Feel free to look up further information in a field guide or nature book, and don’t forget the thesaurus or dictionary, as the first letter of each line must come from the title or subject.  In addition to writing about the subject, you will be learning facts about it. Warning: It is hard to stop at writing just one, and playing with the acrostic form can be quite addictive!

Uvularia

By Susan Post

 

Underneath the canopy

Venturing out in spring

Underground roots send up a sturdy shoot

Leaves and lemon-colored flowers

Appear to dangle to and fro

Redbud and violets, may apple,  and trilliums

Intermix on the forest floor

Aaah, in spring the Uvularia blooms!

Shooting Star

By Patty Dickerson

 

Shooting stars

Hot pinks and white

Observed in spring

Open woods and prairies

Three species are native to

Illinois

Nodding their heads as if saying

Grace

 

Streaks across

The ground, not the sky

Always

Regal

Snow Trillium

By Le Ann Benner

 

Smiles up from the ground

Never frowns

Orderly

White blossoms

 

Treasure of spring

Rises through the dried leaves

Ingores the cold

Linear yellow stamens

Lovely to look at

Instrument of happiness

Uniform plant

Makes me smile

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